While nearby states like Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine are opening their doors to legalized recreational cannabis, Connecticut remains one of the stricter New England states in terms of it’s marijuana laws.
Throughout this article, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about cannabis laws and regulations within the state of Connecticut.
Recreational Cannabis in Connecticut
While recreational cannabis remains illegal in Connecticut, it has been decriminalized. This means you won’t receive any prison time or a criminal record if you’re in possession of a small amount for personal use. However, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind:
If you are caught with one-half of an ounce of cannabis or less, this results in a civil penalty with fines ranging from $150 to $500. Keep in mind, these are only applied to first- or second-time offenders.
If you are caught with more than one-half an ounce, this will result in a fine of up to $2,000 and the potential for up to 1 year in jail.
These laws are applicable for possession of cannabis flower, hash, concentrates, and any other THC product (i.e. edibles).
If you are caught in possession of cannabis paraphernalia – anything used for the sake of ingesting cannabis – this will result in a misdemeanor similar to being caught with one-half of an ounce or less. That is unless you are caught with more than one-half an ounce of cannabis on you – then charges increase.
Cannabis Distribution or Cultivation
Penalties increase significantly if you are caught distributing (in other words, selling) or cultivating marijuana. Penalties are ultimately determined by how much cannabis you’re caught with at the time of your arrest and are as follows:
- Less than 1 kilogram (first offense) – Results in a felony charge that’s punishable with a $25,000 fine and up to 7 years in prison.
- Less than 1 kilogram (subsequent offense) – Results in a felony charge that’s punishable with a $100,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
- More than 1 kilogram (first offense) – Results in a felony charge that’s punishable with a $25,000 fine and anywhere between 5 to 20 years in prison.
- More than 1 kilogram (subsequent offense) – Results in a felony charge that’s punishable with a $100,000 fine and anywhere between 10 and 25 years in prison.
Charges can be increased if you are caught distributing or cultivating cannabis:
- Within 1,500 feet of an elementary/middle school, public housing project, or day care center (up to 3 additional years imprisonment)
- Distributing cannabis to someone under the age of 18 (up to an additional 2 years imprisonment)
Medical Cannabis in Connecticut
In May 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly of Representatives legalized medical marijuana in Connecticut. Under this law, anyone with a state-issued medical marijuana card is legally allowed to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis.
If you are a medical marijuana patient, you or a caregiver is allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces (56.7 grams) of cannabis per month from a licensed dispensary.
You are allowed to consume cannabis only within a private space. If you are caught consuming in public spaces, this will result in fines.
Unlike other states, it’s against the law to cultivate any amount of cannabis within the privacy of your home even if you are a medical marijuana patient.
In order to obtain a Connecticut medical marijuana card, you must be 18 years of age and diagnosed by a physician with one of the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Chron’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Fibromyalgia (includes neuropathic pain or spasticity)
- Hydrocephalus, or cranial fluid buildup
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Nervous tissue or spinal cord damage or injuries (includes irreversible spinal cord injury with intractable spasticity)
- Neuropathic facial pain
- Osetogenesis imperfecta
- Parkinson’s disease
- Postherpetic neuralgia, or shingles
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Psoriatic arthritis/severe psoriasis
- Severe rheumatoid arthritis
- Sickle cell disease
- Terminal illness that requires end-of-life care
- Ulcerative colitis
- Uncontrolled intractable seizures
If you are under the age of 18, you can still receive a medical marijuana card with your parent’s permission if you are diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
- Cerebral palsy
- Cystic fibrosis
- Irreversible spinal cord injury with intractable spasticity
- Muscular dystrophy
- Osteogenesis imperfecta
- Terminal illness requiring end-of-life care
- Uncontrolled intractable seizure disorder
If you struggle with an illness that is not mentioned on this list, but believe you deserve medical marijuana, the public has the right to petition the DCP for additions.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Connecticut
If you have one of the above-mentioned conditions, you can obtain a medical marijuana card in Connecticut by:
- Receiving a written certification from a licensed physician that acknowledges you to have a qualifying debilitating condition.
- Sign up for an account with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Business Network. This will give you access to an online certification system.
- By selecting the “I am a Patient” option, you can fill out the identification requirements which include upload of an identity and proof of residency.
- Pay a $100 application fee. Every registration expires on year after the physician’s certification date and must be renewed.
Driving Under the Influence
Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient or not, it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis within the state of Connecticut. Not to mention, it’s also illegal for medical marijuana patients to open carry cannabis within a vehicle, even if they are just passengers.
If you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana within Connecticut, you will be penalized similarly to an alcohol DUI.